NEWS | May 12, 2020

PA Air, Army Guard join together for Ventilator training

By Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Keeler

Soldiers and Airmen from the Pennsylvania National Guard joined forces for ventilator training at the Medical Simulation Training Center on May 6, 2020.

“We were working on our ventilator training today with Colonel Harris,” Maj. Brian Walters, physician assistant with the Medical Detachment, Pennsylvania Joint Force Headquarters. “Instructing us on how to properly use the ventilators if needed in a situation.”

After several days of training, the troops were moved to the MSTC for a check on learning, and then moving into practical scenarios with mannequins; each mannequin controlled by an operator that can change the pulse rate, dilate the eyes, mimic breathing, and more.

“Essentially, we are going through – putting a patient that is going through respiratory distress on a ventilator. The appropriate medication that you would use, the proper settings that you would use for ‘vent,’ packaging people for transport and evacuation. And, getting a good team concept down with these members as they work together – and care for a potential sick service member,” said Col. Ryan Harris, Deputy State Air Surgeon for the Pennsylvania Joint Force Headquarters.

“Our group made up today was 68 whiskeys, or medics, a couple of [physician assistants], and a couple of docs,” said Spc. Caitlyn Yonkin, combat medic with the Med. Det. The medical professionals were formed into teams mixed of both services to promote the ability to communicate and improve working within a joint environment when presented with a patient in a certain scenario.

Each scenario was concluded with an after action review by Harris to review some of the important details that the team accomplished, and ones they can improve. The ventilation training, like CPR and Combat life safer training conducted last month, is the building expectation as these service members are placed under harder and harder scenarios.

“So, I think they are doing really well so far,” said Harris. “You know as we get through this initial part of the training, we are going to continue to ramp it up and make it more difficult – and add to our scenarios.”